Pakistan has banned our Urdu news service on FM: BBC
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 20:11
Islamabad: The British Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday said Pakistan has banned the beaming of its Urdu news service on local FM radio channels.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has not given written permission to BBC's 24 partner FM stations to air five-minute bulletins, BBC Urdu reported on its website.

BBC currently broadcasts its Urdu news bulletins through local FM channels under permission granted last year by the Pakistan government.

"The ban on BBC Urdu through FM channels is strange," BBC Urdu service chief Aamir Ahmed Khan said.

BBC said it was told by the government that all FM channels will be given written permission to air its Urdu news bulletins.

BBC said it had started providing five-minute news bulletins to 24 FM channels and these were appreciated by listeners.

The regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had first banned BBC new bulletins on FM channels but the restriction was lifted by the Sindh High Court, which described the move as illegal.

BBC news bulletins on FM channels resumed after the court's verdict.

BBC news bulletins were banned again after Musharraf imposed emergency in November 2007.

The Pakistan People?s Party-led government lifted the ban after it came to power in 2008.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has said that no FM channel can broadcast BBC's Urdu news bulletins without written permission.

Mazhar Abbas, a senior leader of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, said PEMRA should only issue licences and should not have the power to ban any channel.


First Published: Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 20:11

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